Aquatic Nuisance Species in Puget Sound
‘Aquatic nuisance‘ special are ‘non-native‘ plants and animals that live in marine and freshwater ecosystems and came here from other parts of the world.
Not at all non-native species become ‘invasive‘. But the species that do become invasive can cause serious environmental and economic harm to this region. Once established, aquatic nuisance species are expensive to control and almost impossible to get rid of.
Invasive species lead to extinction:
Non-native species can out-compete and feed on native species. Of the 958 species listed under the Endangered Species Act nationwide, about 400 (42%) species are listed as a result of non-native species.
What is the problem?
Non-native species can affect the region in many different ways. They have the potential to:
Out-compete native organisms for food and space. Introduce new parasites and diseases – some of which affect humans as well. Cross-breed with native organisms. Alter habitats critical to native species.
After habitat loss, aquatic nuisance species pose the greatest threat to the biological diversity of Puget Sound.
Non-native species of concern in Puget Sound Basin
The following is a little list of the invasive species of concern in the Washington state’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan. Some are already present in the basin, state, and local agencies and organizations are working to eradicate them. Others have yet to make it to their waters. State and federal partners are working to prevent their introduction.
How do aquatic nuisance species get into Puget Sound?
Non-native species get there through a variety of pathways such as:
Shipping Aquaculture, aquarium businesses and live bait shops Consumers Seafood sellers Researchers, universities and school science programs Nursery trades
What is being done to manage non-native species?
Puget Sound Partnership staff:
Help improve current management and monitoring programs for the Puget Sound Provide policy guidance such as polices and programs to improve ballast water management or to detect and respond to invasive species Provide technical and financial assistance such as funding to educate and train divers to survey for and control invasive tunicates Publish reports and special publications Advocate for Puget Sound in state, regional and national venues Work on issues related to ballast water management Coordinate the state’s response to eradicate invasive tunicates found in Puget Sound.
Prevention is better than control
History shows that it’s less expensive to prevent introductions of non-native species than to control and eradicate them once they are established.
The goals and key strategies of the Partnership’s Aquatic Nuisance Species program are:
Prevent the introduction of new aquatic nuisance species to the Puget Sound basin Rapidly and effectively respond when any new species are detected Stop aquatic nuisance species already here from spreading Completely eliminate them as soon as possible, where possible
Accomplishing the above goals requires the following efforts:
Coordinated federal, state and local programs to lessen the environmental effects of invasive species already present in the basin and to prevent other species of concern from being introduced Education to build awareness, help identify new invaders early and encourage voluntary management Monitoring to detect and track aquatic nuisance species